Richard Alfred Grebel, Sr., 88, of Albany, Georgia passed peacefully Wednesday, May 19, 2021 at his home surrounded by family and loved ones. One of six children, Richard was born on his family farm in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin on August 21, 1932 to Emerson and Verna Grebel.
After his high school graduation, he left the family farm to serve in the US Army during the Korean War. This veteran, who loved his country, also loved the cheesemaker’s daughter, Mary Lou Rupp, and married her before leaving. She was his high school sweetheart and has remained the love of his life since their marriage on June 6, 1953.
After serving, Richard and Mary started life in Wisconsin on the family farm, the Grebel Dairy Farm. Two years later, the family made the move to the Turner Air Force Base in Albany, Georgia when Richard returned to active-duty service with the US Air Force. It was there in Albany that they raised their five children.
As their children and family grew, Richard participated in the Lutheran Brotherhood, was a 17-year Boy Scout Master for Troop 113, supported his children in 4H, sports, and band, taught gun safety courses, held various leadership roles within the Lutheran church, was a member of the Rock Hounds, and was an avid camper, boater and hunter. He received the Lamb Award from the ECLA Lutheran Church, an award that only few have earned in their history.
Being the strong family man he was, Richard continued the multi-generational hobby of beekeeping where he completed demonstrations at garden clubs, sold local honey, and even organized a beekeeper club in Albany. He shared that passion, among others, with his children and grandchildren who are now harvesting honey as well. Even after his retirement from civil service with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Richard continued his methods of always learning by reading, attending various meetings, and attaining new certifications.
Along his life’s journey, he even had unique opportunities like bumping into his cousin, Fred McMurray, in Hawaii while in the service and a trip to Beijing, China in 2008. That latter trip was taken to watch his grandson-in-law, Eli Bremer, compete in the Modern Pentathlon during the Beijing Olympics.
Most of all, however, he relished his time spent with his loving wife, 5 children, 16 grandchildren, 27 great grandchildren, and all of their spouses. He enjoyed having them all along as he continued his pursuits of various hobbies from his not-so-small vegetable garden to making delicious fruit wine from his grape vines and fruit trees, harvesting pecans, beekeeping, and raising animals like sheep, turkeys, chickens, and rabbits. There was barely a moment when you wouldn’t find Richard busy outside which has reflected on future generations as several of these interests continue as a legacy within his family.
Richard was the epitome of a Godly man as he reflected Christian principles in his daily life through raising his family, interactions within the community, and by loving his wife as Christ loved the church. He even led the congregation of his home church, Trinity Lutheran located on Whispering Pines, through several sermons as a guest speaker. With that living example, Richard showed his family the unconditional love of Christ and the peace that comes with knowing each of them will be together again one day.
He is survived by his honeybee of 68 years, Mary Lou, their three sons Richard A. Grebel, Jr. (Coni) of Leesburg, Michael L. Grebel, Sr. (Marie) of Arlington, Daniel M. Grebel, Sr. (Barbara) of Leesburg, and their two daughters, Dawn Guanciale of Albany and Tina Thomas (Erwin) of Dawson along with their spouses, listed in parentheses, and their children and grandchildren. He is also survived by one brother, David Grebel (Evelyn), sister-in-law, Shirley Hoffman, sister-in-law, Gertrude Grebel, and several nieces and nephews. He is proceeded in death by his father and mother, Emerson and Verna, brothers Lawrence and Dale (Faroline), sisters Arlene Wagner (Ed) and Lorine, and brother-in-laws Virgil Hoffman and Arthur Rupp.
The family will host visitation at Mathews Funeral Home on Wednesday, May 26th from 5:00-7:00 p.m. with the funeral following the next day, Thursday, May 27th, at 10:30 a.m. at Trinity Lutheran located at 1508 Whispering Pines, Albany, Georgia. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to be made in memory of Richard Grebel to Trinity Lutheran Church 1508 Whispering Pines Rd, Albany, GA 31707.
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